While Utah’s economy is booming on the Wasatch Front, the lingering effects of the Great Recession and technological changes in heavy industries, like mining, are still posing economic challenges for Utah’s rural counties.
Parts of rural Utah are still struggling with net population loss, and slow, and sometimes even negative, economic growth. For example, in 2008, there were eight coal mines in Emery County; today there are just two. Daggett County, the state’s smallest county with just 1,029 permanent residents, has seen a precipitous drop in county revenue in the last number of years. Many rural Utah counties continue to have unemployment rates far higher than the state and national averages.
However, new technologies and companies supported by Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) bring potential new economic growth opportunities to rural Utah.
For example, Conductive Composites, has brought new opportunities not just to Wasatch County where it is headquartered, but also to Emery County, where it opened an advanced manufacturing facility. The company, which creates lightweight materials that provide high levels of conductivity and electromagnetic shielding, opened a coated fiber production plant in Cleveland, Utah (population 442), doubling its production capabilities. George Hansen, co-founder of the company, was awarded the Governor’s Medal in Science and Technology in 2018. Read more……